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   Monday, September 01, 2014Click the down arrow to the right to see a list of Smart Woman topics on air during the month of September.

Fraud-Proof Yourself

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – The number of identity fraud victims jumped to 13.1 million in 2013. That's an increase of a half-a-million people from 2012. Although the ways you can get scammed are endless, there are ways you can protect yourself.

One of the main identifiers used by government and business to confirm who you are is a utility bill. Don’t leave it lying around.

Scan it into a password- protected, encrypted thumb drive and lock it in a safe, or safe deposit box, along with birth certificates, passports, financial statements, tax returns, insurance policies, and social security cards.

“Unless you know you will absolutely need those documents, leave them at home in a safe, locked place,” Holly Salmons, Vice President, Better Business Bureau, told Ivanhoe. 

Next, call your insurance agent and ask if your policies protect you from identity theft. If it isn’t a perk, add it.

Also, create strong passwords for online accounts. Remember to lock electronic devices, like computers and cell phones, and change your passwords frequently.

Finally, review your bank and credit accounts on a daily basis. You can check your credit reports for free at least once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. Sites like www.credit.com offer a free overview of your credit, as well as two free scores which are updated monthly. Also, sign up for free transactional monitoring programs offered by financial institutions and credit card issuers.

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